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Carpet of Peace

We will make a monumental wallhanging Peace carpet & installation, fairly co-created with nomadic women, telling stories of the desert.

Photo of Hendrikje
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The Carpet of Peace concept is based on traditional Moroccan carpets, called Boucherouite, made by nomadic women who have been weaving carpets from leftover materials for generations. For the past 35 years, due to economic, political and environmental hardship, the nomadic communities in the south of Morocco (one of the most important trading posts on the way to Timbuktu, Mali) have been forces to stop the caravan trade and to start new ways of living in the oasis. With the changes in their natural habitat, hierarchy, and source of income, the oasis people are barely surviving, which leads to lost dignity, poverty and fading creativity. Previously, with the social design brand 'Carpet of Life', we started to co-create hope, pride and economic sustainability, through design and capacity building. 'Carpet of Life' connects western consumers directly to the women who weave these cherished textiles - the fabrics of life - with the main aim to create social cohesion and economic value for the women. In partnership with Taragalte, association for the preservation of the cultural heritage in the Moroccan desert village M'Hamid and !DROPS npo, social innovation agency, we want to develop a new project aiming at a higher cause: the peace process in the Sahel and the Sahara countries. We will create a monumental storytelling carpet with fabrics of mothers, children, fathers, musicians, poets, artists, ... from Morocco and Mali. This carpet will be the canvas for the struggle in the region and the extreme difficult situation of artists and the thousands of people who fled the violence and are now displaced. With each piece of cloth, we will connect multimedia and share the story of the person behind it, their story, their hopes for the future. The art installation will enable women to create their own voice with their own crafting skills and enter the international peace debate. They gain a fair loan for the work they do and experience economical and social empowerment.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

We distinguish different beneficiaries: 1. The crafts women of Carpet of Life: a group of 56 weavers and 4 project leaders, living in South-Morocco. We will: - Empower the project leaders and give them training on female leadership and peacemaking - Empower the weaving women to renew their believe in their own wisdom and skills and provide reading and writing skills - Provide basic non-violent communication skills and understanding for each woman to become her own peacemaker in the family. - Pay a fair loan for the co-creation of the Carpet of Peace. 2. The artists, poets, mothers, ... who contribute with their story. We will: - Spread their story and make their invisible story visible. - Empower them in storytelling and teach them skills on how they can tell their story. 3. Displaced people in the Sahara & Sahel region. We will: - Sensitize visitors who experience the art installation. - provide a platform to meet & exchange ideas in order to promote cultural heritage.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

What is unique is that we combine different initiatives: - The women of Carpet of Life are weaving carpets since 2012 and have experience in transforming textile into stories. - Taragalte has experience in Peace-building processes: they organized three Peace-Caravans in the last three years, in which they worked & traveled together with three artistic festivals: Taragalte Festival in M'Hamid, Morocco, Festival au Désert in Timbuktu, Mali and Festival sur le Niger in Ségou, Mali. They promote cultural diversity, peace, tolerance and social cohesion among the people of the Sahel and the Sahara. - !DROPS has developed various initiatives and trainings on digital storytelling for impact. With this project, we will combine these three in a creative way, in order to promote peace & prosperity in the Sahara and Sahel region. This will be a major arts campaign, in which we focus on Peace Building and women empowerment, based on the cultural heritage of the stakeholders involved.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Carpet of Life is a social design brand. Using authentic crafts handed down through generations, women in the Sahara transform clothes and textiles into a vibrant Carpet of Life. The women make use of their cultural heritage to gain a fair loan & experience empowerment. We work on upcycling: people in Europe posess lots of clothes and fabric they don’t wear anymore but are still attached to. Through Carpet of Life, the traditions and craft culture is retained.

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Through Carpet of Life, we tell stories with textile. Most of our clients are European, telling their personal stories. Most of them are very moving, going from women who lost their husband to young couples who transform the clothes of their baby into a carpet. With this project, we want to tell a collective story about a region that is very rich in cultural heritage but experience terrible suffering, due to the conflict they are facing. We believe their story needs to be told and spread!

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

PEACE: Since 2011, Mali is facing conflicts. Diverse islamitic and nationalist rebel groups are fighting the army and each other. Ever since, peace is hard to find and especially in the Northern part of the country. PROSPERITY: M'hamid is a rather isolated village and many men left to work in bigger cities, leaving women and children behind. Many of these women can not participate in society, they don't have many opportunities nor education. Bit by bit, initiatives as Carpet of Life are answering these challenges and are employing & empowering women within society. Since 2012, Carpet of Life is employing 56 craftswomen and will provide more economical welfare for these women within this project: they will weave a huge carpet and gain a fair loan for their work. Besides, they will be able to contribute by telling their story attached to the carpet. PLANET: Carpet of Life is working on upcycling by transforming old clothes into carpets in stead of burning them or throwing them away.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

1. Taragalte, association for the preservation of cultural heritage in Morocco and partner in the Peace Caravan, working on the active promotion of peace through culture. They will be the main partner to address various artists, poets, ... in order to tell their story & share their cultural heritage. This will result in 8 - 10 stories, chosen that they represent the stories of the communities (in Morocco and Mali) . They will be responsible for the research on stories & people within the communities and for spreading the end results in the Sahel & Sahara region. More info: and 2. !DROPS, a social innovation agency in Belgium. !DROPS co-create innovative solutions for social challenges. !DROPS sees culture & technology as the tools for social change. !DROPS will manage the multimediaprocess and the coordination to spread the arts installation in Europe. 3. Hester Ezra, artistic coordination of the creative process.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Mali and Morocco have a rich cultural heritage. Our partner, Taragalte has been focussing on the cultural heritage in music & arts. Carpet of Life has been focussing on the cultural heritage in design. In M'Hamid, there are over 1.000 women who know the Boucherouite technique. In Morocco and Mali, we've mapped over 100 artists. M'Hamid has a very young population, many women don't work but know the skill of weaving Boucherouite carpets, which gives us the opportunity to work with them.

Geographic Focus

We will focus on two countries: Morocco & Mali. Within both countries we focus on the desert areas.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

We will need 36 months: In the first 18 months we will: - Investigate & research - Work on capacity building - Filming - Developing the arts installation In the next 18 months we will: - Develop a communication campaign around the topic & promote the work of the craftswomen & artists - Promote the arts installation - Create network and exhibiting possibilities to spread the message from the Sahara & Sahel regions - Go on tour with the installation in Europe & Northern Africa

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Asel Zoe

Dear Hendrikje,

Beautiful colorful idea - I think we should work together and creat the bigger and more powerful exhibition for the happy world. Check my out

And good luck))

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